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Officials: California likely facing critically dry year

The Sierra snowpack normally supplies about 30% of California’s water.

CALIFORNIA, USA — State water authorities say California will likely face a critically dry year with much less runoff from the Sierra Nevada snowpack than normal and reservoirs that already are showing the impact of winter precipitation that is well below average.

The state Department of Water Resources’ latest survey via a network of electronic stations found the water content of the overall snowpack was 61% of the March 2 average and 54 percent of the average on April 1, when it is historically at its maximum. The Sierra snowpack normally supplies about 30% of California’s water. 

Officials say that barring strong March and April storms water efficiency will be important.

It's the fifth straight month of below-average rain and snow for the state of California. Sean de Guzman is the Chief of Snow Surveys for the Department of Water Resources. He said with below-average precipitation across the state, California's reservoirs are starting to see the impacts of a second consecutive dry year.

 "The two most hydrologically challenging years were 2014 and 2015," de Guzman said. "Those two years were actually California's two warmest years on record dating back over 120 years."  

2020 was the third-warmest year on record.

"It's more critical than ever, that California adopts sustainability, embraces new approaches in emerging technologies and also works together to save our water for a secure future," de Guzman said.

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